The CBZ Newswire

Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao Come Face to Face to Officially Announce Their May 2 Superfight!

by on Mar.12, 2015, under Boxing News

Story and Photos by Christopher Morgan

 

 Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao stand side by side for the first time.

Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao stand side by side for the first time.

LOS ANGELES, CA, March, 12, 2015 — On an unusually cloudy Wednesday afternoon in Downtown Los Angeles, boxing’s two biggest stars converged on the Nokia Theater in the sole press conference to promote their imminent collision at the MGM Grand on May 2nd. This was the only chance the media would have to see the two fighters face to face before they climb into the ring together and the media responded in full force literally bringing out the red carpet treatment. There were also thousands of fans lining the streets and courtyard surrounding the arena hoping to catch a glimpse of their heroes with many waiting for hours just to get a good spot. It seems fitting that a fight that has been 5 long years in the making and being dubbed by many as “The Fight of the Century” would create an event of this magnitude where most boxing press conferences might draw 20 or so reporters this one had a staggering media attendance of 700!

While most fights will have a whirlwind press tour with multiple appearances across the country and sometimes even in international locations, the pervading attitude for this bout is “Only one press conference is necessary, a fight this huge will sell itself”

The red carpet was reserved for the huge media outlets so myself along with the other purely boxing writers were ushered quickly through the red carpet and into the beautiful and modern Nokia Theater where we were given a choice for seating, Rrght side for Pacquiao supporters, middle for Neutral and the left side for Mayweather fans. I sat on the Mayweather side for the simple reason that the seating was a lot better, Pacquiao fans were a lot more numerous and had filled most of the good seats already.

After a long wait which was filled with the giant theater room monitors replaying highlights of each fighters careers and reports that Floyd Mayweather was “still on the red carpet giving interviews” the official press conference kicked off at 1:45pm Pacific with interviews with Showtime and HBO’s head of sports, Stephen Espinoza and Ken Hershman who were both asked similar questions and gave similar responses, “It was hard but we always knew this fight was going to be made eventually”, “This fight will shatter all previous PPV events” “This fight has already generated more hysteria and anticipation than all of their other fights put together.”

Stephen Espinoza did make the important observation that this is the first superfight of the “Social Media Era” and went on the state that Social Media has it’s positives and negatives, the main negative being that it often is a platform for false rumors.

Manny Pacquiao entered the arena first to loud cheers with the press on their feet, cameras and smart phones in everyone’s hands to catch a little piece of the multi-division champion, future hall of famer and living legend. Shortly afterward Floyd Mayweather struts down the aisle looking sharp in a beige sport coat where they both stand face to face in a silent stare down with Manny looking away first although it appeared that he looked away out of boredom rather than anything else that might be gleaned from that by amateur psychologists.

Once all of the executives, trainers and fighters had taken to the dais with Ken Hershman of HBO and Stephen Espinoza of Showtime reiterating what was stated earlier, the brash CEO of Top Rank Bob Arum took the podium and took a verbal jab at Stephen Espinoza of Showtime with the line “Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion” a rebuttal to Espinoza’s claim that Showtime was absolutely instrumental in getting the fight made, this comment drew rapturous laughter from the arena as well as Floyd Mayweather himself prompting Bob Arum to add “You missed me didn’t you Floyd”.

Next to the podium was Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach who kept it straight and to the point “This is the greatest challenge of my career, I’ve been waiting for this for a long time and we’re gonna kick his ass” Surprisingly Floyd Mayweather SR. Floyd’s father and trainer was not given an opportunity to speak, perhaps due to his reputation of going on and on and on once given the chance.

Bob Arum’s introduction of Manny to the podium was amazing and only something the veteran promoter could pull off, he talked at length of the “graciousness and kindness” of the Filipino people and how they opened the doors to refugees of the Holocaust during WWII when many other countries would not, that we only need to “visit a hospital in California or Nevada where 80% of the nurses are Filipino due to their graciousness”. Bob was not done there he went on about how the “Filipino’s fought side by side with Americans against the Japanese during WWII”. Manny took the podium after the very long introduction from Arum and gave a refreshingly honest speech straight from the heart that was a major contrast to the pre-written speeches read word for word from paper from most of the other participants in the conference.

Manny Pacquiao addresses the media.

Manny Pacquiao addresses the media.

Manny simply stated that “my preparation will be perfect for this fight” “Thanks to the grace of god I am a nothing, a nobody that is now a somebody, I owe it all to god, it would not be possible without the grace of my lord”. Manny kept the proceedings civil and politically correct, hey is is a congressman in the Phillipines after all.

 

Mayweather addresses the crowd.

Mayweather addresses the crowd.

With a long introduction for Floyd Mayweather from his manager Leonard Ellerbe with comments such as “The best Pound for Pound fighter on the planet, the best fighter of not only his era but many eras, the highest paid fighter on the planet” it was time for Mayweather to do some speaking and he opened it up first with the thanks to everyone involved for getting together to make it happen, surprisingly giving props to Manny as “one of the greatest fighters of his era” and further claiming that “i haven’t ever wanted to win a fight as badly as I want to win this one, I am already in training to make sure that I have the best preparation possible for this fight”. Just about all of Mayweathers speech was respectful and by the numbers until the end when he couldn’t help himself and had to try to get into Manny’s head a little with some phsycological warfare “I know one thing about any sport, when you lose it’s in your mind, you lost one, it’s in your mind, you lost twice, it’s in your mind”, Pacquiao responded by looking into his phone and then what appeared to be having a conversation on his phone.

In conclusion Leonard Ellerbe announced pricing for the fight for the first time stating they will range from “$1500 to $7500 and information will be announced in the coming days” with that the end was called for swiftly as the theater was hosting another event shortly and all media and equipment needed to be moved. The fighters got together for one last photo op and none other than teen pop sensation Justin Bieber himself joins Floyd and Manny for a picture.

Floyd, Manny and Bieber.

Floyd, Manny and Bieber.

As I leave the building the crowd outside has grown exponentially and as I make my way around the corner a crowd of young guys aggressively walk into my path and ask “hey man, let me buy you’re press pass, c’mon man $20 bucks” I politely decline and they continue following me getting more aggressive “c’mon man that isn’t nice” I can see a flash in their eyes for a second like they want to just take it so I keep moving, near the parking garage there are even more people making all types of offers “sell your press pass?? $5 bucks, $10 bucks?”

I escaped with my press credential intact and also having experienced a press conference with a magnitude unlike any other in the history of the sport.

 

 

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